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Jack exits game with leg injury, Nets lose 95-86 to Memphis

Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports

Lionel Hollins' return to Memphis ended in disappointing fashion after the Grizzlies defeated the Brooklyn Nets 95-86 in Brooklyn's final game before the All Star break and trade deadline.

The Nets were like those kids in high school that usually scored bad grades and got excited after receiving a C. The Grizzlies on the other hand, were the kind of students that got A's on everything they did and complained if they got a B. The two teams were on noticeably different levels, the Nets much lower, but fault them not after they put up a decent fight against one of the best in the West.

Brooklyn trailed by 17 with under five minutes left in the fourth quarter, but cut the deficit down to seven after going an 11-1 run. The Grizzlies owned possession with under one minute remaining when the Nets nearly forced a backcourt violation on Zach Randolph. Randolph then advanced the ball up-court to Mike Conley, who missed on a desperate tear drop attempt as the shot clock expired. The shot missed, but Marc Gasol grabbed the offensive board and hockey- assisted on an eventual layup to put Memphis up nine with 35.7 seconds remaining.

It was the heartbreaking dagger for the Nets, a team that's lost three straight heading into this All Star Break.

The Nets also lost Jarrett Jack late in the third quarter. Jack scored six straight points to give the Nets the offensive spark they needed, but exited the game and never returned after injuring his left leg. He finished the night with 12 points, but committed six turnovers.

Deron Williams found double digits again as he scored 10 points and dished out four assists in 29 minutes. Williams was 0 for his last 19 prior to this matchup and hit on three straight shots in the second quarter. Sports are weird.

Mason Plumlee led Brooklyn with 15 points and 14 rebounds in 32 minutes. He also finished with three blocks and hit on all three of his free throws attempted. He'll be featured in the Slam Dunk Contest this Saturday night in Brooklyn.

The Nets didn't shoot the ball lights out but didn't shoot necessarily bad either at 43.2%; It was the 20 turnovers that did them in, and handed 21 points over to Memphis, who finished the game with 14 steals.

Zach Randolph led Memphis with 19 points and eight rebounds on 9-of-17 shooting. His front-court counterpart, Marc Gasol, finished his night with 14 points and 11 rebounds.

Like Plumlee, Alan Anderson chipped in a team-high 15 points on 5-of-9 shooting. Meanwhile, Joe Johnson scored 11 points but shot a poor 5-of-13 from the field, along with Brook Lopez who scored 12 but shot 5-of-14.

The Brooklyn Nets are now 21-31 and stand more than a full game out of the eighth and final seed in the Eastern Conference standings. That's absolutely unacceptable for a team with the highest salary and lofty expectations. With that being said, it should be interesting to see what moves Billy King has up his sleeve, if any at all, by the February 19 trade deadline. The possibly restructured Nets will play their next game on February 20 against the Los Angeles Lakers.

Quarter by quarter summary:

First quarter ... The Grizzlies opened up the game hitting on 15 of their first 25 shots attempted, kicking the Brooklyn Nets while they were down throughout the entire first quarter. The Nets on the other hand shot 7-for-21 and watched their deficit increase as the quarter progressed. Deron Williams was aggressive, but missed his first two shots of the game -- making him 0 for his last 21. The Grizzlies led 30-15 after the first 12, committed zero turnovers and forced Joe Johnson to cough the ball up four times. It was ugly.

Second quarter ... Deron Williams nailed his first shot in 22 attempts at the 6:24 mark of the quarter. He knocked down two shots after that which helped  the Nets go on a 10-2 run to cut their deficit down to 11. They looked much better in the second. MUCH better. They hit on 10-of-22 field goals attempted, with Lopez scoring eight and D-Will scoring seven. They outscored Memphis 25-20 and trailed by 12 heading into half. Memphis shot 51.2% from the field and Marc Gasol had a game-high 11 points and seven rebounds.

At least there was a little ray of hope.

Score at the half: Grizzlies 52, Nets 40.

Third quarter ... The Grizzlies extended their lead up to as much as 22 but the Nets finished the quarter on an 11-2 run to once again cut their deficit down to 13 with a score of 75-62. Memphis looked to be running away with the game after notching their largest lead of the night, but six straight points from Jarrett Jack helped the team stay afloat by the end of the quarter. Late in the quarter, Jack checked out of the game holding the back of his left leg.

Fourth quarter ... David Joerger rested his starters to begin the fourth quarter and the Nets took advantage. The teams went back and forth with Memphis eventually extending the lead up to 16, but Brooklyn's backup unit put up a fight and cut the lead down to nine at the midway point of the quarter.

The Grizzlies answered with a 10-2 run after Zach Randolph nailed a three to boost the lead up to 17 with under five minutes remaining. The Nets would cut the lead down to seven, but Mike Conley scored the dagger with 35.7 seconds remaining.

Final score: Grizzlies 95, Nets 86.

For more on the Memphis Grizzlies, check them out at Silver Screen and Roll.